Knicks ride Hardaway, 28-0 run to victory
NEW YORK — Two days ago after a topsy-turvy win over the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek shrugged as he described the NBA as a “game of runs.”
Even Hornacek could not have foreseen what happened at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night in the Knicks’ rematch with the Raptors, five days after Toronto handed his team a season-worst 23-point loss.
With Tim Hardaway Jr. leading the way, New York went on a 28-0 run in the third quarter to wrest control from Toronto in a 108-100 home win.
Hardaway had a career-high 38 points, including 12 points during a 41-10 third quarter, as the Knicks (10-7) snapped Toronto’s four-game winning streak.
“He was aggressive,” said Kristaps Porzingis, who added 22 points for New York. “He was attacking the rim. He was having a great game. He was feeling comfortable there.”
Kyle Lowry had 25 points and 10 points and DeMar Derozan added 18 points to lead the Raptors, who led by 11 at halftime.
Courtney Lee had 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter and Enes Kanter had seven of his 11 during New York’s best quarter of the season. The Knicks’ previous best in-game run (records go back to 1991-92) was 24-0 in a 95-94 loss to Indiana in 2003.
“They did a great job of making shots and then they crashed the boards,” Lowry said. “Sometimes the other team is better than you in one quarter. They turned us over. They made us take contested shots. They made shots. They were better than us in the third quarter.”
Toronto took control early behind DeRozan’s 11 first-quarter points, shooting 50 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter and 10 of 20 in the second quarter while holding the Knicks to 43 percent first-half shooting.
That was before New York went on an all-time run.
And this, two days after they watched the Clippers go on a 17-2 run, only to reel off a 15-0 run of their own.
“Guy were pretty tired after the game, but that is how you’re supposed to be,” Hornacek said. “To beat a team like Toronto, you have to play like that. They are aggressive and physical and they have great scorers.”
Five days after containing Kristaps Porzingis in the home win — Porzingis had the second-lowest scoring output of the season with 13 points in the loss — the Raptors held Porzingis to 10 first-half points. He still finished with 22.
“It was huge for us,” Porzingis said of beating the Raptors five days after they lost to them in a big way. “We knew we were capable of winning this game. We had to make adjustments. We had to play really hard against them. They are a good team, and an experienced team. It wasn’t easy but our effort and pace and everything when it comes together is beautiful basketball.”
Toronto’s bench outscored New York’s 37-20, but the Knicks outrebounded the Raptors 47-42 and had only 12 turnovers.
For the Raptors, they were left stunned after losing a game in which they dominated three of the four quarters.
“It is kind of a blur,” Lowry said.
Added DeRozan: “We came out in a funk. We couldn’t make a basket and couldn’t get a stop and they took advantage of it. It happens. It’s the NBA.”
NOTES: The teams entered the game allowing virtually the same amount of points — New York entered the game allowing 103.6, Toronto 103.5, but the Raptors had been outscoring the Knicks on the season 110.4-104.7. ... The Raptors have won nine of the last 11 meetings. ... New York heads to Atlanta on Friday for the two teams’ first matchup of the season after the Hawks won three of four last season. ... Toronto travels to Indiana on Friday night for the second of three consecutive road games. ... With his team in New York, Raptors G Delon Wright visited a surgery specialist Wednesday for a consultation on his right shoulder, which he dislocated Nov. 16. ... Knicks C Enes Kanter had only four rebounds after averaging 11 over his last five games.